Saturday, October 1, 2011

Trial by baking - I miss Bertha!

The first trial bake from our new kitchen happened last night - without dear Bertha. She might have been a cantankerous crafting of steel and brick, but when she was firing on both fireboxes, you could be assured of a smooth and speedy bake. Bertha the woodfired oven had buckets of grunt. I miss that. I really do. Already.

Unfortunately, she wouldn't fit in our new kitchen without lots of modifications to her, and the kitchen. So now, we have Wal. Wal is a gas fired oven from thirty years ago.  He's bigger than Bertha, but nowhere near as fast. I spent the night arranging and then rearranging the brickwork in and around old Wal so that I could get an even heat for baking. Now Wal looks entirely different, and he's approaching being workable from a baker's perspective.

I got lovely crust on the baguettes in the end, but it took me about nine hours to bake 50 baguettes. Not quite what I was expecting, but towards the end of the bake, I started to get things baking evenly and reasonably fast.

So now I'm here on Saturday afternoon, waiting for Wal to get enough heat to bake a couple of viennas. I'm baking them as 'crash test dummies', to see if I need to plan my week next week to include time to get Wal firing harder. Nine hours for 50 baguettes is way too slow.

No wonder the deliveries went out late!

Having said that, the subscribers were happy. Saturday morning, home delivered fresh sourdough. Couldn't be better. So trial bake and trial delivery run a relative success. Next week, a few more breads, a bit more structure in terms of ordering and production, and we'll see if we have something to grow with.

Thanks for all the support so far - I don't think this sort of idea would be able to see the light of day anywhere else. I love Novocastrians - conservative in many ways, but keen to give something new a try.

Here's the link to find out more, or get yours...

I hope to make it really workable way for people to access quality bread at a reasonable price.

Meanwhile, Wal is calling me to bake these Viennas. Gotta go.

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